Trial Magazine - - CLASSIC MACHINE -

The mo­tor­cy­cle sports dis­ci­pline of tri­als was chang­ing as it be­came used to find­ing tighter turns and steeper climbs in the haz­ards, such was the evo­lu­tion of the sport. Many rid­ers be­lieved the ben­e­fits of a small, com­pact, light­weight two-stroke sin­gle cylin­der air-cooled ma­chine could give them an ad­van­tage in these cir­cum­stances. Ri­val Span­ish man­u­fac­tur­ers and in par­tic­u­lar Bul­taco be­lieved the op­po­site; that a larger ca­pac­ity ma­chine was what was re­quired. It’s quite in­ter­est­ing to note that when both Kawasaki and Yamaha from Ja­pan en­tered the tri­als scene with their pro­to­type ma­chines they would have en­gines over 300cc.

Dur­ing the sum­mer of 1971 de­vel­op­ment rider Pi had started to work on a smaller en­gine ca­pac­ity Cota model. They pre­sented the new Cota 123 in March 1972 at the first Three Day Santigosa Trial in Spain as a younger brother for the Cota 247. It car­ried some very new ideas for a tri­als mo­tor­cy­cle, with one a very im­por­tant as­set for the rider. Fea­tur­ing a 123.7cc en­gine with a six-speed gear­box, the kick-start mech­a­nism al­lowed the rider to start the en­gine with the ma­chine still in gear; it was just a case of pull the clutch in and kick-start the en­gine into life. It was a to­tally new de­sign, which owed many of its ideas to the road-based Montesa mod­els. With a bore and stroke of 54mm x 54mm it pro­duced a very us­able 13bhp @ 7,000rpm and was claimed to be 156lb, which was 42lb less in weight than the 247 Cota. The wheel­base was a very com­pact 49.6 inches and fea­tured spe­cially com­mis­sioned Pirelli tyres of 2.50 x 20 inches at the front with 3.75 x 17 inches at the rear com­pared to the run-of-themill 2.75 x 21 and 400 x 18 on the larger ca­pac­ity ma­chines from the other man­u­fac­tur­ers. Its most no­tice­able dif­fer­ence on the ex­te­rior was the sec­ondary trans­mis­sion, which was on the near-side of the ma­chine. A cross-over rear brake mech­a­nism was not re­quired, and also of note was the fact that this was the first Montesa tri­als ma­chine to adopt the con­ti­nen­tal style near-side gear lever and off-side brake pedal.

It fea­tured spe­cially com­mis­sioned Pirelli tyres of 2.50” x 20” at the front and 3.75” x 17” at the rear. 1973: John Hem­ing­way at the Vic­tory Trial where he gave the new Montesa Cota 123 a run out be­fore the SSDT in May. 1973 SSDT: Watched by Alan...

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